Why Business Intelligence is a Key Part of Process Excellence

When it comes to making the best decisions about process management, it is important that business leaders are armed with the facts and figures they need to make an informed decision. Here's what you should know about business intelligence and data management.

The journey to achieve process excellence can be long and costly but taking the time to identify and eradicate any issues or faults in process management could be the difference between long-term success and eventual downfall, a fact that highlights the necessity of taking action. And when it comes to making the best decisions about process management, it is important that business leaders are armed with the facts and figures they need to make an informed decision, meaning that business intelligence and data management are the key tools organisations have at their disposal to create truly effective solutions.

Making changes

Writing for Information-management.com, Lyndsay Wise, the president and founder of WiseAnalytics, a boutique consulting and analyst firm focused on business intelligence, explained that linking business intelligence (BI) with business process management can help organisations to create stronger operational business intelligence, improving the way they work. She suggested that firms are beginning to understand the importance of moving from old-fashioned and outdated management reports to fluid and flexible scorecards, dashboards and real-time BI.

"Implementing BI helps organisations deliver reports and analysis to decision-makers quicker, enabling them to make informed decisions faster. For instance, reports that may have taken weeks to generate and distribute can be distributed within hours," explained Ms Wise, "this means that information can be easily accessed, saving time and helping to increase process efficiency".

However, in the same way that BI can help organisations achieve process excellence by streamlining processes, saving time and money, it can also be used to identify issues for quality control, meaning that firms have the information they need to detect and correct potential issues proactively to enhance their output and services. This in turn can move the firms utilising the methodologies to make cost savings and efficiency gains, maximising profits and improving overall financial performance.

As Ms Wise explained, just because "vendors have been lax in the area of software offerings that merge both BI and process management, this doesn't mean that benefits don't exist", with organisations increasingly committed to a continuous and proactive approach to process excellence and BI.

The power of process excellence

Indeed, a number of big name software firms are creating solutions to help organisations harness the power of effective business process management. Software AG, a global leader in software and services for Business Process Excellence, with some 10,000 customers in over 70 countries, recently explained that organisations can be transformed just by taking a closer look at their internal processes and making small but significant changes.

"Software AG believes that an organisation's competitive power is hidden within their processes. By better aligning IT to support business strategy, and improving business processes, organisations can transform to become more flexible, agile and competitive," explained Mehul Rajparia, managing director of IDS Scheer India. He echoed Ms Wise's comments about the importance of introducing continuous process improvement strategy, as, given the rapid pace of change in business and technology, if organisations do not stay on top of any minor alterations or industrial advances, they will find the need for a complicated and costly overhaul in the long term, potentially putting the success of their firm on the line.

It is no exaggeration to suggest that process excellence can help organisations avoid a potential downfall, particularly in the current economic slowdown when all firms are focussing on cost savings. According to Voice and Data, a report commissioned by Pitney Bowes found that the telecoms industry in particular has benefited significantly from introducing new initiatives for process excellence. It claimed that gaining a new customer is six times more costly than keeping an old one, while one firm admitted in the study that process excellence initiatives introduced to ensure that customer service staff "get it right first time" have led to savings close to $1.6 million (£1 million).